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Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork. Hydro Flask Cheap Ombre .com) - Hitting the floor for the first time in 12 days, the sixth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers will play host to the Cleveland State Vikings in a non-conference clash at John Paul Jones Arena. Tony Bennetts Cavaliers have followed up last years ACC title with a strong start to the 2014-15 campaign. Virginia seeks its first 10-0 start to a season since 2000-01 and was last in action on Dec. 6, routing VCU on the road (74-57) improving to a perfect 9-0 on the year. The Cavs have won 15 straight games at home and have held 15 straight opponents under 70 points. Gary Waters Vikings have a tall task indeed on Thursday. Cleveland State has failed to gain or lose any ground through 10 games played, sitting at an even 5-5 on the year. The team was able to get back to .500 last time out, making light work of Mount Vernon on Monday, 86-40. The only other previous meeting between these two teams took place in the 2009 Cancun Challenge, a game won by Virginia, 76-65. Scoring points in bunches has not been the norm for Cleveland State this season, as the 86 points against Mount Vernon marked a season-high for the Vikings. CSU found its offensive rhythm against Mount Vernon, shooting .533 from the floor overall, including 9-of-17 from behind the arc (.529). Junior guard Trey Lewis was unstoppable in the win, accounting for all nine of the teams 3-pointers (tying a school record) and finishing up with a career-high 32 points. Junior forward Anton Grady was instrumental in the win as well, pouring in 18 points for Cleveland State. Scoring hasnt come quite so easy on the season as a whole for CSU, as the team generates a modest 67.5 ppg on .420 shooting. The defensive effort has been there though, with foes managing just 59.1 ppg against the Vikings. Lewis is a dynamic scorer and definitely headlines the Cleveland State attack at a hefty 19.0 ppg. Despite his team-high 133 shot attempts on the year, Lewis is also tops on the team in assists (3.9 apg). Grady is a distant second in the scoring column and the only other Viking currently in double digits at 11.8 ppg. However, senior forward Marlin Mason (9.9 ppg) is eager to join the group. If Cleveland State thought scoring points in bunches was difficult up to this point, the Vikings are in for a rude awakening against the stingy Cavaliers. A staple of the Virginia attack under Bennett, the team is at it once again in 2014-15, leading the nation in scoring defense (47.4 ppg) and ranking third in field-goal percentage defense (.321). In addition, Virginia ranks second nationally with an inflated +14.4 rebounding margin. The Cavaliers also possess solid scoring depth, with three of the five starters averaging double figures at this time. Junior guard Justin Anderson tops the group with his 15.8 ppg. Fellow juniors Anthony Gill and Malcolm Brogdon round things out with 13.0 and 12.6 ppg, respectively. VCU is a solid team on the national level,.but Virginia made light work of the Rams last time out, holding their foe to just 57 points on .383 shooting. The Cavaliers also dominated play on the boards, outrebounding VCU, 35-21. Anderson had another strong game, going 6-of-7 from the floor (3-of-4 from behind the arc) and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to finish with a game-high 21 points. Gill poured in 18 points, while Brogdon finished with 15. The Cavaliers have carried last seasons strong campaign into 2014-15 and it will be interesting to see just how much momentum will play a factor in its ACC slate. For now though, the Vikings wont represent much of a challenge, as Virginia should continue to roll over the opposition. Cheap Hydro Flask Ombre . Called on from the college ranks to replace Andy Reid, Kelly implemented a whole new atmosphere in the City of Brotherly Love and now has the Eagles in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Rei Hydro Flask Sale . TSN 1290s coverage begins with Hustler & Lawless at 3pm.  Rick Ralph hosts the Official Jets Pre-game Show at 5pm.PHILADELPHIA - If the Philadelphia Phillies are planning to ship closer Jonathan Papelbon off at the trade deadline, now might not be the best time to do it. Papelbon surrendered a game-tying homer to Buster Posey in the ninth, and the Phillies ultimately fell 9-6 to the San Francisco Giants in 14 innings on Tuesday. It was Papelbons third blown save. "Hes been good all year," Ryan Howard, who had two hits, said of Papelbon. "You cant put it on him." Brandon Crawford hit a bases-clearing double to break the stalemate in the 14th and Tim Lincecum earned his first career save. Crawford snapped a 2-for-22 skid with his two-out hit off the wall in left-centre field and finished with four RBIs. Posey, who also doubled and scored in the 14th, had four hits, including two doubles, two runs and an RBI on his homer. "It was one pitch," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He was first-ball swinging." George Kontos (3-0) earned the win for the second straight night. Lincecum, San Franciscos ninth pitcher, got the final two outs for the save. Jeff Manship (1-2) surrendered four runs and lost. The Giants (56-44) improved to 8-2 in extra-inning games and 6-0 on the road. The Phillies (43-57) fell to 6-7. "Its tough right now," Howard said. "Its just how it goes sometimes. Its just not going our way this year." Hunter Pence had three hits, including a fifth-inning homer. Pence is a lifetime .353 hitter with 14 homers in 34 gammes against Philadelphia. Rei Hydro Flask Clearance. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer in the fifth, giving him five homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games. Marlon Byrd had a pair of RBIs on a double and a groundout and made a great leaping catch into the right-field wall to rob Gregor Blanco of extra bases in the sixth. Yusmeiro Petit, making a spot start for injured Matt Cain, allowed seven hits across five innings, struck out five and walked two. Roberto Hernandez limited San Francisco to three runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, walked three and struck out one. Ken Giles allowed one run in the seventh after entering the game with a 14 2/3-innings scoreless streak. "His command wasnt as good as its been," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "But he hung in there." Ben Revere had three hits and two stolen bases. NOTES: Philadelphia is 6-7 in extra-inning games. ... Philadelphia placed outfielder John Mayberry Jr. on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with left wrist inflammation and recalled outfielder Darin Ruf from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... One day after returning from a two-month DL stint because of a strained left elbow, Phillies LHP Cliff Lee felt fine Tuesday. "Some ordinary soreness in his legs," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Nothing with the arm at all." ... Wednesday night, Phillies RHP A.J. Burnett (6-9, 4.08) opposes Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 3.38) in the third game of this four-game set. ' ' '
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Luis Suarez has been told to expect a verdict next week in his appeal against a FIFA ban for biting an opponent at the World Cup. Adidas Ryan Ellis Jersey . The Uruguay and Barcelona forward signed autographs for young fans waiting outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport after a six-hour hearing Friday, then left in a car without speaking to reporters. CAS said Suarez gave a statement in court. He is trying to persuade a three-man judging panel to reduce his ban of four months from all football activity, along with nine Uruguay matches in official competitions. The panel "informed the parties that it will issue its decision as soon as possible, probably before the end of next week." Barcelona begins the Spanish league season in two weeks. FIFA lawyers earlier declined comment on the case. Adidas Calle Jarnkrok Jersey . The premature end left 26 players still to finish the round in the Asian Tour event. Siddikur, who shot a bogey-free first round to share the lead with five others, eagled the par-5 first hole before bogeying twice and rebounding with six birdies. Adidas Eeli Tolvanen Jersey . Fans can also watch the game on the newly launched TSN GO (currently available to Bell TV and Rogers customers), which gives TSN subscribers the freedom to live stream the networks programming from their smartphones, tablets, and computers at no additional charge – just as they would watch Canadas Sports Leader on TV at home. The following week, MLS ON TSN is at BMO Field in Toronto to deliver live coverage of TFCs home opener vs. D.C. United on Saturday, March 22 at 4:30 p.SAN JOSE, Calif. - T.J. Oshie scored his second career hat trick to move past the 100-goal milestone in his career and the St. Louis Blues snapped a five-game road losing streak by beating the San Jose Sharks 7-2 on Saturday night.Alexander Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk each had a goal and three assists, and Jaden Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for the Blues, who were dominant from the start a night after losing in Anaheim. Brian EElliott made 18 saves to give St. Adidas Juuse Saros Jersey. . Louis its second win in the past eight games.Joe Pavelski reached the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have lost four of five. Antti Niemi allowed six goals on 27 shots before getting pulled early in the third period as the Sharks allowed their most goals at home since falling 7-2 to Chicago on Nov. 25, 2009. ' ' '
MONTREAL - Former Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman can finally take time to enjoy the city he called home for five years. Authentic Geno Atkins Jersey .Now coach of the NFLs Chicago Bears, Trestman is briefly back in Montreal this week, where he led the Als to two consecutive Grey Cup victories in 2009 and 2010.The Alouettes (1-1) will honour Trestman at halftime of Montreals regular season home game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-0) at Percival Molson Stadium on Friday.Its emotional being back, said Trestman, who went 59-31 in five winning seasons with Montreal from 2008 to 2012. Its a privilege to be back. This time, (my wife) and I will see the city and walk the city together, which we really didnt have the chance to do much of when we were here —other than the (Grey Cup) parades. Were looking forward to that.Five years went by in the blink of an eye. We were appreciative of every minute of it. It must have been a great time because it went by so fast.Trestman will take to the field at halftime on Friday, flanked by Als owner Bob Wetenhall and general manager Jim Popp, to receive a large commemorative photograph celebrating his success in Montreal.A humble Trestman said he was very surprised when Wetenhall told him about the ceremony over the phone.To single out a person that was part of a team for five years was very hard for me, said Trestman of Fridays event. There were so many people involved in having the success that we did have.Trestman joined the Alouettes in the winter of 2007 after more than two decades in various coaching and administrative roles at the U.S. collegiate level and with eight different NFL teams — including one year as the assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2004.In his first year with the Als, Trestman took the team all the way to the Grey Cup final, where they lost to the Calgary Stampeders on home soil. The following year, Trestman led the Alouettes to the teams first Grey Cup in seven years, a come-from-behind victory in the dying seconds over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Montreal lost only three games in the regular season that year.When the Als hoisted the CFLs top prize again in 2010, Trestman became the only coach in Alouettes history to win consecutive Grey Cups. For his efforts, the 58-year-old was named the CFLs coach of the year.In 2013, Trestman and the Als parted ways when the Minnesota native was offered the reins of the Chicago Bears. In his first year with the Bears, Trestman narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing second in the division with an 8-8 record.But while the game and skill level may be more demanding south of the border, Trestman says coaching in the NFL is very similar to the CFL.Football is the ultimate people business, he said, explaining that the core coaching principles dont change from one league to the next. Trying to send the messages that are the same every day, but sending them in different ways because you have a room full of guys that hear you differently, thats the challenge of coaching.Its still about mutual respect, holding people in high regard, and using the right words in the right language. When you play the game of football, youre really part of something bigger than yourself. When you go through adversity and success, you keep those things in mind, because those are the things that ground you.Since leaving Montreal, Trestman has tried to keep one eye on his former team. He watched with disappointment when the 2-3 Alouettes fired his replacement Dan Hawkins after only five games into the 2013 season — the first time in six years the Alouettes finished the regular season with a losing record (8-10).Trestman was also watching when his former quarterback Anthony Calvillo, professional footballs all-time passing leader, called it quits this year, retiring just five months after suffering a concussion. Trestman had nothing but praise for the 41-year-old Calvillo.What people dont see all the time with Anthony is how really smart he is, and how good he is with words, how articulate he is in his ability to communicate. When Anthony got in front of the team and had something to say, everybody listened. He was always on point, passionate, under control.In the spring, Trestman invited Calvillo down to Chicago to mentor the Bears quarterbacks for a day, including eight-year NFL veteran Jay Culter. The former Als coach even backed Calvillo should the retiree ever decide to try his hand at coaching.He certainly has the football aptitude, but he does have the ability to communicate with all different kinds of people, said Trestman. If he decides to take that route, he wont be a good coach, but a great coach.With the teams newest coach Tom Higgins leading the way from the sidelines, and Ohio native Troy Smith taking the snaps for Montreal this season, the Alouettes are looking to return to their winning ways, and possibly book a ticket to the Grey Cup final for the first time since 2010.Trestman has liked what hes seen from Montreals defence so far this season, and sees a lot of potential in the teams offence. And while Smith has big shoes to fill, Trestman believes things are looking up for his former team.It certainly looks like (Smith) has the skills to be a very good player, said Trestman. He certainly has athletic talent, theres no doubt about that. Expectations in Montreal are so high because of the quarterback play theyve had for so many years. Thats going to be a tough act to follow.I think its an exciting time for the Alouettes. I really do.Notes: Trestman will begin his second season coaching the Bears this September. … The 102nd Grey Cup will be played at Vancouvers BC Place in November. … Syracuse offensive co-ordinator George McDonald recently compared Trestman to former L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson. … Trestman played quarterback for the University of Minnesota in college. Authentic Tyler Kroft Jersey . Clevelands manager had just watched his team lose 5-3 to Kansas City, which completed a 2-6 homestand and dropped the Indians 2 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central. Authentic Preston Brown Jersey . The team said they will announce a corresponding roster move prior to their series opener on Tuesday night in Kansas City. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers starter Colby Lewis did a bit of reminiscing when he noticed the stands filling up while he warned up in the bullpen before the game. The veteran right-hander went out and provided a promising flashback performance against the New York Yankees, even after another leadoff homer by Brett Gardner. The Rangers clinched their first series in a month with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night. Lewis retired the last 13 batters he faced in seven strong innings, much like the 2010 AL championship series when he beat the Yankees twice -- including the Game 6 clincher at home that got Texas to its first World Series. He had since missed the last half of 2012 because of elbow surgery and missed all of 2013, when he had an unprecedented hip procedure for a major league pitcher that was just short of a full hip replacement. "I was definitely an adjustment period getting used to a prosthetic hip, I guess," Lewis said. "As the weeks have kind of transitioned into the second half, I feel like every time I take the mound, I feel like Im getting stronger, my mechanics are sharper." The Rangers had lost seven consecutive series since taking two of three against Minnesota from June 27-29. Texas went ahead to stay with three runs in the first off Hiroki Kuroda (7-7). Elvis Andrus had an RBI double and scored the tiebreaking run on a single by Adrian Beltre, who came home on Leonys Martins single. Lewis (7-8) allowed four hits, with four strikeouts and New York didnt have another runner after Carlos Beltrans two-out single in the third. "He made some adjustments along the way, and he just showed his presence and his veteran presence out there," manager Ron Washington said. Neftali Feliz pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in as many chances since reassuming the closer role after Joakim Soria was traded to Detroit a week ago. Neal Cotts, considered a potential trade possibility before Thursdays non-waiver trading deadline, retired the top three batters in the Yankees lineup in order in the eighth. Kuroda struck out four while allowing nine hits over seven innings. Derek p;Jeter was 0 for 4 in his final game in Texas, where a pregame ceremony honouring him included a personal appearance by former President George W. Authentic Tony McRae Jersey. Bush. After the Yankees captain was presented a pair of boots, a video was shown of Bush and Jeter when the former president threw the first pitch before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bush then came out and presented the Yankees captain a framed signed picture of the two together that night nearly 13 years ago. "I heard he was coming to the stadium but I didnt know he was going to come out onto the field, so thats pretty special feeling," Jeter said. "When you have a president come out and give me something to honour, Thats definitely a memory Ill have for a long time and get to brag to a lot of different people." GARDNER GOES DEEP -- AGAIN: Gardner led off the game with a homer for the second straight night, after homering twice in the series-opening loss for New York. His 14 homers are already six more than his career high last year. TRAINERS ROOM Yankees: Second baseman Brian Roberts got his third game off in four days. Manager Joe Girardi said the 36-year-old is dealing with general soreness. Roberts has already played in 91 games this season, after averaging only 48 games the last four seasons with Baltimore. Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland, who had left knee surgery after getting tripped by his dog on the stairs at his home during the off-season, made his first rehab start for Double-A Frisco. He threw two scoreless innings without allowing a hit, throwing 21 of 33 pitches for strikes with four strikeouts and two walks. ON DECK An off day Thursday for both teams. The Yankees go to Boston for the opener of a three-game series Friday night, when the Rangers start a nine-game trip with a series opener at Cleveland. A-GAME: Rangers left fielder Jim Adduci had two hits and a couple of nice catches. Adduci made a running catch in the second, holding on after he leaped, reached out and then crashed into the wall. "There is zero thought process in that," he said. "That wall won." ' ' '
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams will have a procedure to repair a fractured nose and will miss Utahs game against New Orleans on Wednesday night. Adidas Stan Smith Sale . Williams sustained the fracture during a game against San Antonio on Nov. 15, but has played in two games since then. He will have the outpatient procedure on Thursday and should rejoin the Jazz for their game Friday night against Dallas wearing a face mask, the team announced Wednesday. Williams, who is in his ninth NBA season, has averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in seven games with Utah (1-11). Adidas Stan Smith Online Sale .com) - Devon Johnson ran for a school record 272 yards with four touchdowns and No. Adidas Stan Smith Wholesale . If Vettel wins at Suzuka on Sunday, and his nearest rival Fernando Alonso finishes worse than eighth, the German driver will join his compatriot Michael Schumacher and Argentine Juan-Manuel Fangio as the only men to win four consecutive titles.MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love is used to carrying the beat-up Minnesota Timberwolves lately. This time, he finally had some help when he sat down to take a rest. Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds, Ricky Rubio tied a franchise high with 17 assists, and the Timberwolves beat Paul George and the Indiana Pacers 104-91 on Wednesday night. J.J. Barea scored 12 points off the bench as the Wolves took control early against the Eastern Conference leaders. "This is one of my favourite wins of the season just because we played a very good team," Love said. "We did it without two key players and we fought hard." George led Indiana with 35 points, but managed just two in the fourth quarter as the Pacers lost for the third time in five games, never once taking a lead. "We just didnt have a whole lot of pop tonight," said David West, who scored four points and struggled guarding Love all night. "This is a game that I thought we would come out and play a little better than we did. We just didnt have it, just a step or two slow." It was Loves eighth straight game with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, the longest streak since Shaquille ONeal accomplished the same feat Jan. 3-19, 2005. Love has an NBA-best 14 games with 30 points and 10 rebounds this season. "I thought a lot of the shots he made was good defence," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "You have to give him credit. He is an extraordinary player and he played an extraordinary game tonight." In their first game since the All-Star break as they try to make a late-season run and catch Golden State for the final playoff spot in the West, the Wolves came out running and led by 16 when Love came out for a rest 3 minutes into the second quarter. Minnesotas reserves have been unable to hold their ground when Love goes to the bench recently, but they did fine on Wednesday. Barea, the subject of recent trade rumours, scored eight straight points during one stretch -- including a circus shot on the fast break over C.J. Watson that increased Minnesotas lead to 20 with 6:48 left in the half. "When he gets his rest, we need other people to step up," Barea said. "Tonight, we were able to do that." Love scored 18 points in the third quarter, including a jumper from jjust inside the 3-point line with 0. Cheap Adidas Stan Smith Shoes. 8 seconds left that pushed the Wolves lead back up to 10 after an Indiana run. Minnesota, playing without injured starters Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin, led by as many as 17 in the third quarter. However, with Love sitting to start the fourth, a jumper from Watson early in the quarter cut Indianas deficit to five and gave the Pacers hope. But again, Minnesotas reserves held on. Barea knocked down a jump shot in front of the Wolves bench to extend the lead back to 11 with 8:33 to play and the Wolves never looked back. "Coach came to me and said hes going to give me a little bit of a rest," Love said. "He came to me during the timeout and said These guys are rolling. I said Great, just keep them in as long as you need to. Those guys just did a great job and really stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity tonight." When Love returned, he reeled in a full-court pass from Rubio with his fingertips and slammed it home to give the Wolves a 98-84 lead. Indiana went into the All-Star break stuck in a shooting slump, but shot 50 per cent in a win over Atlanta on Tuesday. The Pacers made just 8 of 22 shots to start Wednesdays game and finished at 40 per cent. "We will reflect on this," George said. "We really didnt want to lose and drop this game. But we have to move on. Its all about the next game." George Hill finished with 13 points and Lance Stephenson had 10 despite missing his first six shots. NOTES: Wolves coach Rick Adelman on how trade rumours impact players as the deadline approaches: "I think it definitely affects them. But its all part of the business, especially now," he said. ... The Pacers are 8-7 on the second game of a back-to-back. "Not really," Vogel answered after he was asked if he, George and Roy Hibbert have caught up on rest after All-Star weekend. "Im a little more tired than usual. Im sure those guys are. But it doesnt mean anything. Still have to go out and win games." The Wolves still dont know when Pekovic or Martin will return. Adelman said Martin will get his injured thumb examined again in the next day or two. .. Wolves centre Ronny Turiaf left in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury and didnt return. ' ' '
Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn. Hydro Flask Cheap Ombre.ca. Good morning Mr. F, First, thank you for helping to educate us fans about the rules of the game, and for sharing your stories. Second, my questions: What is the NHL policy on media and officials? Can they be on Twitter? Can they be interviewed by TSN? Can they publish a book? We rarely, if ever, see an active official make a comment off the ice. Is this because they dont have much to say, or because of restrictions? I could see referee interviews causing uproars among fans. Thanks!Kent Hi Kent: The policy the NHL has in place for their officials speaking to the media is clear and direct: NO COMMENT! All media access to the officials (interviews) must be cleared and granted through the office of Gary Meagher, Sr. Vice President Public Relations & Media Services. Gary is assisted by Julie Young, Manager of Public Relations. Once the content and nature of an interview is cleared, Julie is typically responsible for contacting the official and facilitating the interview. Both individuals are extremely professional and very good at their job. It was a treat to work with Julie Young because through her efforts things always went smoothly during the many times that I was requested for interviews. Social media is off-limits for all the officials! They are not allowed to have a Facebook or Twitter account as information could easily be misconstrued or deemed to be inappropriate. It is just another undesirable location that the officials could become accessible. After NBA referee Tim Donaghy was convicted on criminal charges and served time in federal prison for betting on games he officiated, NHL officials are "strongly discouraged" from entering casinos while travelling on NHL business. You can forget about reading a book written by any NHL officials until after they retire; unless perhaps it is a childrens coloring book! Other than the number on the back of their sweater (no names since 94) the league is most content when their officials are seen and not heard from. During the playoffs a supervisor (Officiating Manager) is assigned to each series. In the event that an explanation might be required for any reason, it is conveyed to the media through the series supervisor after he consults with the officiating crew. If a major controversy were to occur in game, Gary Meagher will typically craft a press release and/or instruct the supervisor as to the information that should be shared with the media. Personally, I preferred the day when a pool reporter was allowed into the refs room after a game to get the answer directly from the official who made the decision on the ice. I would rather explain the reason behind my decision than to have it communicated through a third party or worse yet not explained at all. On occasion, pertinent aspects of my explanation became lost in the transfer and delivery of information. There are even times when the only answer is that an honest mistake was made but I doubt youll hear about it! Some officials are media savvy while others are not. I know many officials that would get torn to shreds by the media if they became accessible following a game. The only time the press would be interested to hear what an official had to say would be following some sort of controversy. It is at times such as this when damage control is utilized. Most often however, there is a reasonable explanation for a refs decision that should become public.  Players and coaches can provide post-game comments from an emotional and often biased perspective. Those are the sound bites and quotes that fans are left with even though the NHL can (and has) impose fines to players and team management when they impugn the officials publicly.   To prevent embarrassment or limit the need for damage control by the NHL, it is most obvious that a broad policy has to apply which restricts all referees or linesmen from making public comments. I am under no such gag order so the best place to get a straight answer as we move into the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs is right here at Cmon Ref! Fair, honest and opinionated - the spin truly does stop here Kent! Enjoy the final weekend of the regular season and the race for the playoffs. Cheap Hydro Flask Ombre . Pressley missed all of last season with Cincinnati because of a knee injury, but the 5-foot-10, 249-pounder had been expected to fill a need on Clevelands roster. Rei Hydro Flask Sale . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (5) - Simply put, Lundqvist was brilliant.A compelling new documentary film series commissioned by The R&A will premiere on Tuesday on Sky Sports, featuring 14-time major champion Tiger Woods. The series, Chronicles of a Champion Golfer, tells the individual stories of the worlds greatest players at The Open, providing exceptional insight into the skill and determination needed to become Champion Golfer of the Year.In the first film, airing on Tuesday at 7:00pm on Sky Sports 4, Woods speaks candidly about his 20 years playing in The Open and relives his three victories in golfs greatest Championship. It looks at the impact of the death of his father prior to his win at Royal Liverpool in 2006 and his thoughts on what the future holds.  The series takes a fresh and innovative approach to documentary production and includes unparalleled access to golfs most celebrated players including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Sir Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy. Woods and Jack Nicklaus both feature in the series The centrepiece too each 30-minute film is a stylised interview where each player speaks introspectively about his life, his golfing career and the path he took to become Champion Golfer of the Year. Cheap Hydro Flask Water Bottle.  The interviews are accompanied by footage from The R&As extensive video library and newsreel archive.David White, Producer and Director of the series, said, The Chronicles of a Champion Golfer tells the story of The Open in a way that hasnt been done before - from the perspective of the greatest players to ever play the game.  To capture each of them speaking so openly about their lives and what it means to be a Champion Golfer was a privilege. I am delighted that audiences will be able to view the films over the coming months in the build-up to The Open this July.The next film in the series, featuring Norman, will air on 19 and 20 April followed by Watson on 3 and 4 May. The series will continue to run through to the week of The 145th Open at Royal Troon, 10-17 July, and will be available on Sky Sports On Demand.  Also See: Opinion Golf on Sky Sports 4 Schedule Get Sky Sports ' ' '
CHICAGO - Mark Buehrle felt a little more nervous and a little more emotional than he thought he would. Under Armour Outlet Australia . The pitcher received a standing ovation from the crowd as he took the mound against his former Chicago White Sox teammates. Buehrle tipped his cap and then allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings in his first start as a visitor in Chicago and third game against the White Sox overall. The Toronto starter didnt earn a decision, but the Blue Jays beat the White Sox 6-3 on Saturday night. Melky Cabreras two-run double in the seventh inning was the difference in Torontos win. "The reception I got, I was kind of thinking it might be good, but what they did, coming off the field every time I ran out, to hear people cheering, it was exceptional," Buehrle said. Buehrle texted former teammate, and White Sox captain, Paul Konerko to make sure it was OK that he tipped his cap to the crowd. "Its one of those things that I didnt want to (tick) anybody off on the other team, but at the same time the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right," Buehrle said. The Blue Jays, who snapped a four-game losing streak, scored three runs in the seventh to retake the lead after the White Sox tied it with three runs in the sixth. Avisail Garcia went 2 for 4 with a double for the White Sox in his first game since April 9 after recovering from shoulder surgery. Brett Cecil (1-3) got two outs — both by strikeout — to earn the win. Casey Janssen worked one inning for his 19th save in 22 opportunities. The Blue Jays allowed Buehrle to take the field alone before the bottom of the first inning, and fans gave him a standing ovation. While with the White Sox from 2000-11, Buehrle threw a perfect game on July 23, 2009, against Tampa Bay, and a no-hitter on April 18, 2007, against Texas. "Im kind of glad its over," said Konerko, a teammate of Buehrles on the 2005 World Series championship White Sox team. "Him in another uniform doesnt look right to me. Quite honestly, I really dont have it in me to want to see him do badly, so I dont like the combination." The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead on Dioner Navarros sacrifice fly and Nolan Reimolds RBI single in the second. Toronto extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on Jose Reyes RBI single. The White Sox tied it with three runs in the sixth. With runners on first and second, Dustin McGowan replaced Buehrle. "It was starting to snowball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said about removing Buehrle. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Dayan Viciedos sacrifice fly made it 3-2. Konerko tied it with a single, but the White Sox bullpen gave the lead back in the next inning. The Blue Jays scored three runs with two singles, two doubles and a Chicago error. Matt Lindstrom (2-2) allowed four straight hits before recording an out. Cabrera hit a two-run double and advanced on an error. Jose Bautista followed with an RBI single for a 6-3 lead. Buehrle has one victory in his last 13 starts. "I take pride going deep into games, and I didnt really go deep into the game today, so thats the frustrating part," he said. TRAINERS ROOM Blue Jays: 1B Dan Johnson began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday. He is on the DL with a strained left hamstring. Toronto also called up RHP Kyle Drabek from Triple-A to replace RHP Chad Jenkins, who was optioned to Buffalo on Friday. Drabek began the season in the Triple-A rotation, where he went 4-6 with a 4.46 ERA. After the first-round draft pick moved to the bullpen in mid-June, his numbers improved. In 16 relief appearances, he was 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA. White Sox: Garcia was reinstated from the 60-day DL, and OF Moises Sierra (oblique) went on the 15-day DL on Saturday. The White Sox also recalled LHP Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Charlotte, placed RHP Javy Guerra on the bereavement list, and designated LHP Charlie Leesman for assignment before Saturdays game. UP NEXT In the finale of the three-game series Sunday, Toronto starts RHP Drew Hutchinson (8-10, 4.60 ERA) against RHP Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81). Under Armour Australia Online . Toronto (11-12) gave up leads in 10-8 and 11-4 losses to the Baltimore Orioles this week. It was never close Friday as the Boston Red Sox got to Mark Buehrle early en route to an 8-1 win. Under Armour Wholesale Australia . - Suspended Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon has voluntarily checked into a treatment facility and seems to be doing well.ST. LOUIS -- To stay a step ahead of goaltenders, T.J. Oshie mixes up his shots in shootouts. It worked Saturday, with Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scoring in the tiebreaker to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. "I try to switch it up," Oshie said. "I know they watch video just like we do so I try to be unpredictable out there. Ive scored a couple on backhands, three or four in the 5-hole and a couple using the forehand." Alexander Steen missed on the first attempt. Then came Oshie. The crowd chanted "USA! USA! as Oshie skated in on Al Montoya and beat him. Tarasenko then scored, giving the Blues the victory in their final game before the Olympic break. Tarasenko is 3 for 5 in shootouts. Whichever way he goes, Oshie is getting the job done. He is 7 for 10 in shootouts. "Its just a fun part of the game where youve been doing it at the end of practices with goalies since you were a kid," Oshie said. "Its something Ive had fun doing." Blues goalie Brian Elliott stopped Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd in the tiebreaker. They were a combined 9 for 14 before misfiring against Elliot. Coach Ken Hitchcock said there is a "calmness" on the bench when it comes to time for a shootout. "Thats what is intriguing for me," Hitchcock said. "First of all, we can go deep cause we have people who are good at it that are down the ladder. But weve also got those three guys who are pretty golden for us to be honest. We know were going to get a goal from one of the three for sure." Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy and Jaden Schwartz scored in regulation for the Blues, 15-0-1 against Central Division rivals. They are 22-5-3 at home and 39-12-6 overall. Mark Scheifele scored twice, and Dustin Byfuglien added a goal for Winnipeg. "We know we played a good game and for it to come down to a shootout is a tough way to end it," Scheifele said. "We know we can play with every team in this league and to lose in a shootout to a team like that is obviously good but we know we could have won that game." It was the fourth consecutive overtime game for St. Louis. St. Louis was 0 for 8 on the power play and has failed to score in its last 20 chaances. Under Armour Sale Australia. "Ive got three weeks to think about it," Hitchcock said, pointing to the Olympic break. "I have no thoughts. I need a break from it. They need a break from it." The Blues improved to 3-1 this season against the Jets, winning the last three with each game was decided by a single goal or in a shootout. Schwartz scored on a backhander from the slot to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead 34 seconds into the third period. Schwartz has three goals and three assists in a four-game points streak. Byfuglien tied it on a power play with 6:17 left. St. Louis scored first. Morrow took a drop pass from Tarasenko and snapped a wrist shot from the left circle at 7:39 of the first period. Winnipeg tied it on Scheifeles goal at 12:33. From behind the net, Devin Setoguchi found Scheifele in front of the crease and Scheifele slid it by Elliott. St. Louis regained the lead when Roy scored on off an assist from Morrow with 2:22 left in the period. It was Roys first goal in 25 games since Dec.12 against Toronto. Scheifele tied it at 2 midway through the second. "We played a hell of a game, down three times and battled back," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "Big power play goal, fantastic penalty kill. We played a real solid game. I liked the looks we were getting for the most part on power-play, getting faster. "I dont put any stock into a shootout deciding how we play. We played a great game. We worked hard enough and played well enough that we just as easily could have won that game." NOTES: Blues D Jordan Leopold left in the first period and did not return. ... St. Louis D Barret Jackman played in his 700th game. Only Bernie Federko (927), Brian Sutter (779) and Brett Hull (744) have played more games for the Blues than the former No. 1 draft choice. ... The 10 Blues player selected to play in the Winter Olympics were honoured in ceremony before the game. Nine Blues are headed to the games. F Vladimir Sobotka will miss playing because of a leg injury. ... The Jets are sending four players to the Olympics ... With the win, Hitchcock went past Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman on the Blues career victories list. Bowman was 110-83-45 with the Blues from 1967 to 1970. The Blues are 111-44-15 under Hitchcock. ' ' '
NEW YORK -- The pitching-poor Texas Rangers plan to add right-hander Jerome Williams and will start him Friday night against AL West-leading Oakland. Authentic Corn Elder Jersey . The Rangers announced after Thursdays 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees that they would purchase Williams contract from Triple-A Round Rock. The 32-year-old Williams was released by Houston earlier this month after going 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA in 26 relief appearances. He signed with Texas and went 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts at Triple-A. Williams is 43-51 with a 4.45 ERA in nine seasons with San Francisco, the Cubs, Washington, the Angels and Astros. Texas has a 4.84 ERA, the highest in the AL and almost a half-run over anyone else in the league. The Rangers have the worst record in the majors, and set a big league record by using 30 pitchers before the All-Star break. Theyve already tied a team mark for most pitchers in a season, and they added another newcomer to the roster before Thursdays game by promoting reliever Nate Adcock from Triple-A. Authentic Donte Jackson Jersey . 25 against Miami. Hillis left Browns Stadium about two hours before kickoff, a decision that has led to speculation he was upset over ongoing negotiations with the club on a contract extension. Authentic Efe Obada Jersey . -- Center Max Unger and tight end Zach Miller are both probable for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday against the New York Giants and Percy Harvins recovery continues to be slow.LA PLAGNE, France -- Reigning Olympic moguls champion Alex Bilodeau will retire at the end of the World Cup season. The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association made the announcement on Friday. Bilodeau, of Rosemere, Que., will compete in one last event, the season-ending World Cup in La Plagne, France on Friday before hanging up his skis. The 26-year-old is currently 31 points behind Deux-Montagnes, Que., native Mikael Kingsbury for the Crystal Globe -- awarded at the end of the season to the athlete at the top of the overall world standings. Bilodeaau won the FIS moguls World Cup title in 2008-2009. Authentic James Bradberry Jersey. Bilodeau took gold medals at both the Sochi and Vancouver Winter Games, making him the only freestyle athlete to win back-to-back Olympic titles. Kingsbury took silver in Sochi last month, and has won the Crystal Globe the last two seasons. On the womens side, Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal trails American Hannah Kearney by only five points in the world standings. Kearney has won four FIS moguls World Cup titles, including the last three seasons. ' ' '
The British Olympic Association has named the 13 gymnasts who will compete for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Wholesale NFL Jerseys China . In the mens artistic field, world pommel horse champion Max Whitlock returns for his second Olympic Games after claiming two bronze medals at London 2012, while three-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith also returns to Team GB.Three more of the team that won all-around silver at the World Championships in Glasgow last year are also selected with Olympic bronze medallist Kristian Thomas included alongside Nile Wilson and Brinn Bevan who are set for their Olympic Games debuts. However, there was no place in the team for Sky Academy Sports Scholar Sam Oldham, who is a reserve.  The womens artistic field comprises five World Championship medallists with Becky Downie returning for her second Games and sister Ellie, a four-time Youth Olympic medallist, set for her first Olympic Games.There are also Olympic debuts for four-time Commonwealth gold medallist Claudia Fragapane, Amy Tinkler and Ruby Harrold.On the trampoline, two-time world champion Kat Driscoll will make her second Olympic appearance while three-time British champion Bryony Page is also included alongside 2016 British champion Nathan Bailey. Becky Downie is set to compete in her second Games At London 2012, Team GB picked up four medals with the mens artistic team taking bronze, Smith winning silver and Whitlock bronze on the pommel horse. Beth Tweddle also won bronze on the uneven bars.Team GBs chef de mission Mark England said: Our gymnasts have enjoyed a very successful four years since London 2012 and the quality of athletes selected today is right up there with the best in the world.!n particular, the performances over the last 12 months across the disciplines give great promise to what this group can achieve in Rio de Janeiro this summer.Gymnastics in Britain is stronger than it has ever been. No doubt that competition for places has pushed each of those selected today to be better athletes and will help them hugely at Rio 2016.   Mens Artistic: Max Whitlock, Louis Smith, Nile Wilson, Brinn Bevan, Kristian Thomas.Womens Artistic: Becky Downie, Ellie Downie, Amy Tinkler, Ruby Harrold, Claudia Fragapane.Trampoline: Kat Driscoll, Bryony Page, Nathan Bailey. Also See: Jamaica include Bolt Sharapova to miss Rio Felix bid fails Agony, relief and roaring to Rio Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys . The Rangers announced after Thursdays 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees that they would purchase Williams contract from Triple-A Round Rock. The 32-year-old Williams was released by Houston earlier this month after going 1-4 with a 6. Cheap NFL Jerseys Free Shipping . Huntelaar also had a penalty saved by Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. The two goals brought Huntelaars total for the season to 18, level with Bayern Munichs Mario Gomez for most in the league.San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester has reunited with Theo Epstein. Lester agreed to a six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs early Wednesday morning, according to a report. The Cubs and Boston Red Sox were the only teams remaining in the Lester sweepstakes on Tuesday night after the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers backed out, per reports. Yahoo Sports! is reporting the pact to be for $155 million. The 30-year-old Lester went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA for the Oakland Athletics after he and outfielder Jonny Gomes were acquired in a blockbuster trade- deadline swap from the Red Sox for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The southpaw went 16-11 wiith a career-best 2. Authentic NFL Jerseys. 46 ERA in 2014. Lester is most known for his prowess in the postseason, where he is 6-4 with 2.57 ERA in 14 career appearances, including a perfect 3-0 mark with a sparkling 0.43 ERA in the World Series. Lester has a 116-67 record with a 3.58 ERA over his nine-year career. He turned down a $70 million contract extension from Boston during the spring, the team which he helped win two World Series titles. Epstein became the youngest general manager in MLB history when the Red Sox hired him following the 2002 season and helped them win a pair of World Series prior becoming the president of baseball operations for the Cubs in 2011. ' ' '
PHOENIX -- Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses China . The Suns termed Fridays surgery by team doctor Thomas Carter a success. No timetable was given for Bledsoes return but the team said in a news release that he "will pursue a possible return to action during the second half" of the season. Bledsoe was having the finest season of his career after being acquired by the Suns from the Los Angeles Clippers in the off-season, averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists per game. He and Goran Dragic formed the double-point guard backcourt that had been the catalyst of the Suns surprising start to the season. This is the second time in a little over three years that the 24-year-old player has undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the same knee. The first surgery was performed Oct. 7, 2011, during the NBA lockout of that season. The Suns, who were playing at Memphis on Friday night, are one of the NBAs most surprising teams with a 21-13 record. They are 16-8 with Bledsoe and 5-5 without him. He missed six games earlier this season with a bruised shin and has been sidelined the last four with what the team initially said was a sprained right knee. The injury puts more pressure on Dragic, who is averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 assists per game. To bolster the depleted backcourt, Phoenix signed Leandro Barbosa to a 10-day contract this week. The 31-year-old Brazilian, who also is coming off knee surgery, had his best NBA seasons with the Suns, including winning the leagues Sixth Man award in 2007 after averaging 18 points a game. Gerald Green moves into the starting lineup in Bledsoes absence. Green, who made the winning shot in Wednesday nights victory at Minnesota, was acquired, along with centre Miles Plumlee, in a trade that sent Luis Scola to Indiana. "Its tough," Green told azcentral sports at the teams Friday shootaround in Memphis. "You lose a player like that, playing at the high level hes been playing at, its going to be tough. This team is made for the next-man-up mentality." Bledsoes offence, particularly his lane penetration, has been a critical part of his success, but his defence probably will be more sorely missed. "Guys are going to have to step it up," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek told azcentral sports. "Its unfortunate that hes going to miss some games but I think the more theyll get used to the rotation, hopefully thatll make us better." The injury comes at a tricky juncture in Bledsoes career financially. He will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season and, while the Suns have indicated they would match any offer for him, its possible that two knee surgeries in his first four NBA seasons might diminish his value, at least somewhat. The teams Memphis stop is the third on a five-game road trip. Phoenix split the first two on the trip and is 2-2 since Bledsoes knee injury. Ray Ban Sunglasses China Wholesale .Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls beat the winless Orlando Magic 98-90 on Tuesday night.Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 21 points and Taj Gibson added 16 for Chicago, which finally pulled away in the final minutes of a game that was tied after three quarters. Ray Ban Sunglasses Wholesale . Hall had a goal and three assists in a 5-4 loss to San Jose on Tuesday, had an assist in each of Edmontons next two games the capped the week with a goal and two assists in the Oilers 4-2 win over Anaheim on Sunday.Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Its no surprise people wondered how Barry Trotz would get along with Alex Ovechkin. To say Ovechkin is at the center of the storm for the Washington Capitals would be putting it too lightly. The superstar winger has become so utterly synonymous with the only NHL franchise hes ever known that everything the Caps do is quickly related back to Ovechkin. So when Trotz was hired last spring as Washingtons new head coach, the talk of the town was how would the defensive-minded bench boss mesh with the uber- talented but undisciplined Ovechkin. While there have been growing pains for both Ovechkin and the Caps as a whole under Trotz, Thursdays thrilling Winter Classic victory over the Chicago Blackhawks may have been Washingtons coming out party for the hockey world at large. With nearly 43,000 fans in attendance at Nationals Park, the Caps recorded a 3-2 win over the visiting Blackhawks thanks to Troy Brouwers game-winning power-play goal with 12.9 seconds left in regulation. Ovechkin was awarded an assist on Brouwers big goal and also scored earlier in the game. The two-point performance gives Ovechkin 18 goals and 14 assists in 37 games under Trotz. That level of production is not quite up to the standards set by the three-time Hart Trophy winner, but more importantly, Ovi and his team are trending upward in terms of wins and losses. Washington got off to a mediocre 10-10-4 start under Trotz, but the club has really gained traction over the last several weeks. The New Years Day win over Chicago gives the Caps a 9-1-3 mark over their last 13 games, and the latest victory allowed Washington to leap over the New York Rangers for the third and final automatic playoff berth in the Metropolitan Division. While previous Capitals coaches like Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates would at times publicly call Ovechkin out for his lack of discipline, Trotz is seemingly adheres to the old saying if you cant find anything nice to say, dont say anything at all. The former longtime Nashville Predators coach instead has been singing the praises of Ovechkin to anyone who will listen, and for good reason. Although Ovi is not producing at his normal point-per-game pace, his overall game has seemed to thrive under Trotz. Last season, Ovi had a dreadful minus-35 rating in 78 games. This season he is sporting a plus-eight through 37 tilts. Even if you think plus/minus is a useless stat (which most of the times it is) that kind of turnaround simply cant be dismissed or ignored. After the victory over the Blackhawks on the outdoor stage, Trotz offered a full-throated endorsement of his star player and seemed to say the criticism of Ovi over the years has not been fair. Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses. A lot of people want to tear him apart, but how many superstars have scored as many goals, how many superstars put people in the seats, how many superstars play as physical as Alex Ovechkin? Theres not very many, Trotz said. And thats what makes him unique. Of course, people will continue to knock Ovechkin until he leads a team to a Stanley Cup title. But at the moment, with Trotz as his biggest fan, things are certainly looking up in D.C. CLASSIC TV RATINGS HIT ALL-TIME LOW On paper, it seemed like this years Winter Classic was a marquee matchup. On one side you had a household name like Ovechkin, and on the other was the Chicago Blackhawks, a team with several recognizable faces thanks to a pair of recent Stanley Cups championships. However, early reports of the television ratings for the NBC broadcast tell a different story as Thursdays game was the lowest-rated Winter Classic since the New Years tradition began at Buffalos Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008. The Blackhawks-Caps pulled an overnight rating of 2.3, well below the 2.9 rating that last seasons clash between Detroit and Toronto at Michigan Stadium. The previous low was a 2.4 rating for the 2012 Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, but that matchup at Citizens Bank Park in Philly may have been hurt by the fact that it was played on Jan. 2 instead of New Years Day. Perhaps, the location hurt the Classic, as Nationals Park is a newer stadium without the cache of places like The Big House, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Also, this was the first time the Winter Classic didnt have the documentary series 24/7 on HBO to build up excitement over the weeks leading into the game. There was a similar program called Road To The Winter Classic that aired on EPIX, a channel that simply cant compete with the high profile offered by a place on HBOs airwaves. The NHL should hope that either of those two reasons led to the low ratings this time because the alternative may be the outdoor game is simply losing its luster. That would hardly be a surprise considering the 2013-14 season saturated the market with six outdoor games. There will be another opportunity to gauge the interest in outdoor games on Feb. 21 when the San Jose Sharks welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California. ' ' '
WEST BROMWICH, England -- West Bromwich Albion gave new manager Alan Irvine a one-year rolling contract on Saturday. Cheap Jordans From China . Irvine, the manager of the academy at Everton, replaces Pepe Mel, who was fired a day after leading West Brom to 17th in the English Premier League and securing topflight football for a fifth straight season. West Brom technical director Terry Burton says, "Alan was at the forefront of our thoughts," and "he has a vast knowledge from grassroots up thanks to the roles he has performed during his decades in the game." It is the 58-year-old Irvines third job as a manager, after stints at Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End in the English second tier. Under him, both teams were relegated. Jordans From China Real . Buffalos defensive co-ordinator had his second interview with Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner on Tuesday night, a person familiar with the Browns plans told The Associated Press. Wholesale Authentic Jordans . 5 Trade Deadline is drawing closer and teams will be deciding on whether to buy or sell while figuring out which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value.TORONTO -- Marcus Ball had to take the long road to realizing a childhood dream. The former Toronto Argonauts linebacker will finally get a shot at cracking an NFL roster after signing a three-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Ball, wholl turn 27 in July, was undrafted out of Memphis and had to look north to get his start in pro football. "Im very blessed," Ball said during a telephone interview. "Its a fortunate opportunity to be able to achieve one of my ultimate goals and something Ive dreamt about since I was a kid starting out playing football. "This doesnt guarantee anything. I still have to go and fight for a position and spot on the roster but Im looking forward to the challenge." The six-foot-one, 209-pound Ball spent two seasons with the Argos, helping them win the 100th Grey Cup in 12. He recorded 142 tackles, seven sacks, four interceptions -- returning two for TDs -- and three fumble recoveries. Ball is expected to compete for a spot as a backup safety with the Saints and also play special teams. The club has two other safeties -- Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro -- on its roster. But Ball said his time in Toronto has prepared him well to compete for an NFL roster spot. "Being in a professional system and figuring out how to be a pro and learning how to be a pro in Toronto really helped me," he said. "Being in such a great organization in terms of ownership, (GM) Jim Barker, (former defensive co-ordinator) Chris Jones and (head coach) Scott Milanovich and being part of that championship mentality taught me a lot." Barker released Ball in February even though Ball was entering the option year of his CFL deal. Ball said hell forever be grateful to the Argos GM for allowing him to pursue his NFL dream. "That just speaks volumes about the kind of guy and person Jim Barker is," Ball said. "He has always believed in me, he has always been there for me and treated me like his own, as has the entire Argos staff and front office, thats what I really appreciated. "This is bitter-sweet because I love Toronto and will always consider Toronto home. Its tough to leave but now I have the opportunity to accomplish my dream." Dan Vertlieb, Balls Vancouver-based agent, echoed his clients sentiments. "Marcus is incredibly grateful to Jim Barker and the Toronto Argonauts for allowing him this opportunity," Vertlieb said. "Jim, in particular, has been a leader and visionary on this issue and in doing so has given Marcus the opportunity to best provide for his family. "Its not something that will soon be forgotten -- Marcus will be forever grateful for his time with the Argos." Last fall, receiver/kick-returner Chris Williams -- also a Vertlieb client -- became embroiled in a dispute with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats regarding his desire to pursue NFL opportunities while still under contract. Williams went to arbitration to be released from the final year of his CFL deal beffore ultimately reaching an agreement with the Ticats that allowed him to sign as a free agent with the Saints. Cheap Jordans For Sale. Williams is now with the Chicago Bears. Ball is the third Toronto player to sign in the NFL after being released by the club, joining defensive back Nieko Thorpe (Oakland Raiders) and receiver Dontrelle Inman (San Diego Chargers). Thorpe also had time remaining on his CFL deal but Inman was released in December, just over a month before he was poised to become a free agent. Shortly after Torontos 12 Grey Cup victory, Barker released defensive lineman Armond Armstead, allowing him to sign with the NFLs New England Patriots. "Every situation is different," Barker said. "Its my job to win Grey Cups and I do whatever I have to do in order to win Grey Cups. "Ive never let a player go just because Im a nice guy. I do whats in the best interests of this football organization." Barker praised Ball for the contributions he made to the Argos. "Obviously, Marcus Ball is a great football player and you always have room and find a place for great football players," Barker said. "He always brings great energy and hopefully he can go and have a very successful career there." Balls departure adds to whats already been a whirlwind off-season for Toronto. Other players leaving include cornerback Patrick Watkins (free agent, Edmonton), linebacker Jason Pottinger (expansion draft, Ottawa), offensive lineman Joe Eppele (expansion draft, Ottawa), defensive lineman David Lee (free agent, Saskatchewan) and quarterback Zach Collaros (free agent, Hamilton). Defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell was also released to pursue NFL opportunities and remains a free agent. There was a revamping of the coaching staff as well with the departures of Jones and special-teams co-ordinator Mike OShea (head coach, Winnipeg) and assistants Steve McAddo, Jason Shivers, Ed Philion and Craig Davoren (all with Jones to Edmonton). The front office wasnt immune either as player-personnel director Ted Goveia left to become Winnipegs assistant GM. "This league is about change and either you prepare and can handle it or youre not going to be in league very long," Barker said. "The one thing I feel like Ive learned is you adapt to the situation you have. "Wed love everybody back but were dealing in a SMS (salary management system) world and it is what it is. Were proud that two of the thDALLAS – Standing behind the visitors bench at the American Airlines Center as his team was being pummeled, Randy Carlyle muttered under his breath some of the frustration and disappointment that goes hand in hand with such a thoroughly one-sided defeat. Jack Johnson Jersey . "It gets passed a point of mad and frustration," said Carlyle, bearing the look of a baffled head coach. "It just gets to a point of disappointment and what the heck is going on out there. Those are the things that bring you back to Earth in a hurry. "This is the thud." Toronto hadnt won seven straight in more than 10 years. Thumped 7-1 by Jamie Benn and the Stars in Big D on Thursday night, theyll have to wait at least a little longer to do it once more. The Stars exploded for four goals in an imbalanced middle frame – Benn with a pair of assists – wrestling complete control of a tilt that featured on a whole lot of ills from the visiting hockey club, including a host of turnovers and slew of lost battles. "We didnt really have anything going for a good part of the hockey game," said Carlyle. "We turned the puck over. We didnt make strong plays. We looked like we were a step behind the Dallas hockey club tonight. They skated and we didnt." Considering their recent string of success – the longest win streak by the club in more than seven years – the lacklustre effort seemed to come out of nowhere and was more in line with much of the disappointment and inconsistency that plagued the seasons first half. "It might help put us back down to even-keel here," said Tyler Bozak afterward. "We were pretty confident and maybe a little overconfident after that win streak we had." "Its the management of success as well as well as management when youre not having success of how to remain on an even-keel," Carlyle said. "Obviously we didnt do a very good job of that in our performance tonight." All the elements that flourished so prominently during the six-game win streak disappeared in a hurry. The goaltending had a rare off-night. The previously scorching top line was silent and burned often on the other end. And the power-play, so prominent in the past week and really all season, was a large negative, empty in three attempts with a shorthanded goal against. Blown out in Carolina two weeks ago to the day, the Leafs responded with some of their best hockey, eventually rallying with this most recent win streak. Theyll be looking for more of the same when they visit the suddenly resurgent Jets to conclude the road trip on Saturday. "Weve got to find a way to pick ourselves back up because we cant let this linger with our group," Carlyle concluded. Five Points 1. Rare Off-Night in Goal Between Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer, goaltending has been a strong point for the Leafs all season and more recently during the six-game win streak. But on this night that elite level of performance was nowhere to be found (though they lacked much help). Bernier was bounced for just the second time all season following the third Dallas goal – 13 shots – a redirected Benn point blast that snuck through the five-hole of the 25-year-old. He was replaced by Reimer, who fared no better, yielding four more goals on just 15 shots. "I think they fit in with the rest of our team," said Carlyle of the goaltenders. "Im not going to throw those guys [under the bus] any more than the rest of the group. We just didnt have anything going. We just didnt have it." Leaf goaltenders owned an impressive .932 save percentage during the six-game run, but were hammered for seven goals on 28 shots against the Stars. 2. Top Line Finally Silenced The trio of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak combined for 12 goals and 25 points during the win streak, but they were completely silenced in Dallas. The line failed to generate much of anything against the Stars – combining for just four shots – while also being burned for four goals against on the other end. "We werent skating. We werent winning battles. We were getting outsmarted pretty much all over the ice," said Bozak. "Especially our line – we were terrible. They outplayed us in every facet of the game. Its just one that weve got to put behind us." Prior to the game, Carlyle described their recent success as more expectation than surprise. "Check the size of their pay cheque," said Carlyle with good humour. "Arent they supposed to do that? Thats what theyre paid to do. Thats the bottom line. The reality of it is they are paid to provide offence and I guess theyre doing their job." Kessels potent seven-game point streak was snapped in the loss. He had six goals and 14 points in that span, but was held to two shots on Thursday. 3. Lupul at LW After residing on the right wing for the better part of a month – mostly due to injuries – Joffrey Lupul has, in recent days, returned to his more comfortable left wing. Lupul spent the past three seasons on the left side, moved there at the request of former Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. Randy Carlyle noted Thursday morning that Lupul "seems to be much more comfortable on the left side than the right side". The reasons why, as explained by Lupul himself, start in the defensive zone. "Im better in my own zone for sure," he told the Leaf Report on Thursday morning. "I find it easier to get the puck out on the wall – which a lot of guys dont. I dont why necessarily I do, [but] I find it easier to protect the puck and play better in my own end." Additionally, the 29-year-old believes he is a more dynamic threat offensively streaking down his off-wing. "I think Im a much better passer off the left side," said Lupul. "[Playing there] just gives me a chance to use my body again to protect the puck whereas on the right wing I feel like Im kind of skating with the puck exposed and it can get knocked off a lot. And it just gives me a chance to buy myself that extra second, whether it be to shoot or to pass." 4. Wrong Direction Hes unquestionably been felled by some particularly rough outings from his teammates, but Reimers season has gradually turned in the wrong direction just as Bernier has clutched hold of the crease. The 25-year-old burst out of the gate with a .949 save percentage in October, but has trended downward ever since. Reimer has started three games in January, while stepping in for Bernier in two others, owning an unflattering .875 save mark in the opening month of 2014. Month Save Percentage October .949 November .916 December .909 January .875 5. Clarkson & Other Injury Updates Missing his fourth consecutive game with an elbow injury, David Clarkson isnt due to return to the Toronto lineup until next week. Clarkson had been playing with an infection in his elbow since December and required minor surgery last week to alleviate the issue. Frazer McLaren meanwhile, out the past five games with a bruised shoulder, was due to meet the team in Winnipeg on Friday. Trevor Smith, sidelined since the middle of December with a broken right hand, is expected to start skating with his teammates next week. Stats-Pack 4 – Goals scored against the Leafs top line on Thursday. 2 – Number of times in 32 starts that Jonathan Bernier has been pulled this season. 7-14-2 – Leafs record when failing to score the first goal. 2 – Number of games this season in which the Leafs have allowed seven goals. .750 – Save percentage for the goaltending duo of Bernier and Reimer against the Stars. 11-8-1 – Leafs record versus the Western Conference this season. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 22.5% (4th) PK: 1-2Season: 77.5% (28th) Quote of the Night "This is the thud." -Randy Carlyle, on being brought back to Earth in Dallas. Up Next The Leafs conclude their four-game road trip in Winnipeg on Saturday night. Lukas Sedlak Jersey . Mired in an offensive slump, Lowry - the NBAs leader in taking charges this season - did what he has learned to do best, standing his ground and drawing a crucial offensive foul on the Cavaliers all-star point guard. Fast forward 30 seconds to the Cavs next possession, with the home team still trailing by three, Spencer Hawes - one of the leagues best passing big men - threw an interception, intended for Tyler Zeller and picked off by DeMar DeRozan. Joonas Korpisalo Jersey . The goals took Liverpools tally in the Premier League this season to 70, overtaking Manchester City as the top scorers, and left the fourth-place team just four points behind league leader Chelsea.Some days - not too many, thankfully - I feel like it sucks to get old. Or, more precisely, it sucks to watch great hockey people you admire and respect grow old. Friday was one of those days. Thats when the family of 74-year-old Stan Mikita announced the Hall of Fame Chicago Blackhawk centre and beloved franchise ambassador is facing serious health issues, that he has been diagnosed with suspected Lewy Body dementia, a progressive disease and is currently under the care of compassionate and understanding care givers. On the same day as that most unwelcome Mikita news, blogger Howard Berger (bergerbytes.ca) posted a current photograph of 82-year-old former NHL defenceman and Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour, updating his condition (dementia and Parkinsons Disease) and inviting fans to send best wishes to Arbour at his retirement home in Florida. Arbours health issues were widely reported in the media last summer - it isnt necessarily news hes now suffering dementia - but whats that they say about one picture being worth a thousand words? That the failing health of these two Hall of Famers intersected, sadly, on the same day only added to the magnitude of the misfortune. At least it did for a kid who spent his formative Original Six hockey years growing up in Toronto in the 1960s, admiring the two men for very different reasons. *** I loved Stan Mikitas hockey stick before I came to fully appreciate him as a hockey player. Bobby Hulls too. The two Blackhawk stars were, of course, the most famous originators of the curved stick in hockey. I dont want to say you had to be there in the 1960s to truly comprehend the impact of that phenomenon on the game but, really, you had to be there. My friends and I were totally enthralled and captivated by it. You had to see a Mikita or Hull curved blade to believe it. Not for nothing were they called banana blades, more boomerang than blade. Perhaps not coincidentally, (then hockey equipment manufacturer) Cooper came out with what was known as the Super Blade, a plastic road hockey blade that could be affixed to a wooden stick shaft. The beauty of the Super Blade (aside from the fact it was more or less indestructible and ran more smoothly than wood over asphalt) was you could curve it as much, or as little, as you liked. Right or left, it didnt matter. My friends and I preferred a lot over a little, thanks to Mikita and Hull. You had to heat the blade over a stove top to curve it. My Mom always feared I would burn down the house while curving my Super Blade, but, truth be told, boiling the water to mold my Cooper Adanac inside-the-mouth mouth guard for real hockey was far more dangerous, but thats another story. We all wanted to be Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull when we played road hockey, the ultimate compliment coming from kids raised on Punch Imlachs Maple Leafs. If it wasnt too cold out, you could take your Super Blade and add extra curve to it by sticking it in the sewer grate and bend it to absurd proportions. Mikita and Hull, of course, were so much more than their curved sticks. Hull was The Golden Jet, along with Gordie Howe, the biggest name(s) in the game. Mikita, as much as he was a star, was also complex and contradictory, so many things to so many people. My Dad often referred to Mikita as a, dirty S.O.B. And, for a time, he was. In his first six years in the NHL, Mikita had 100 or more penalty minutes in each of four seasons (154 was his personal best or is it worst?), 97 in one of the two years he didnt hit the century mark. Stosh, as he was known, was mean, not afraid to use his stick for more than scoring goals. No one ever doubted his skill and offensive ability – in his second NHL season he played a significant role in the Hawks 1961 Stanley Cup victory and was legitimate star who won four NHL scoring titles in a five year stretch between 1963 and 1968 - but Mikita was often one nasty bit of business. If the advent of the curved stick revolutionized the game on one level, Mikita effected what had to be one of the most remarkable individual transformations in the history of hockey on another. So, in back-to-back seasons (1966-67 and 1967-68), Mikita not only won the Art Ross Trophy as NHL leading scorer and Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, but he also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the leagues most gentlemanly and sportsmanlike player. It was a stunning reversal. Two scoring titles, two MVPs, two most gentlemanly player awards, with penalty minute totals of 12 and 14, in two years after being one of the NHLs most notorious bad boys and stick men. He remains the only NHL player to win those three trophies in the same season, and he did it twice. Mikita was a special player. Only a special person could re-define himself the way he did. If I went to my uncles house on a Saturday night, when the Hawks were playing the Leafs, Mikita was a revered figure there. My uncle married into a Polish family, and though Mikita was born in Czechoslovakia (he moved to Canada when he was eight), that was close enough for fellow Eastern Europeans to identify with. They loved him. We knew from Mikitas hockey card that his original name was Stanislav Gouth, born in Czechoslovakia (Slovakia actually). He was raised in St. Catharines, Ont., by his aunt and uncle and took their last name - Mikita. By any name, he was extraordinary. His innovating ways didnt end with the curved stick. Mikita was reportedly knocked unconscious by New York Ranger defenceman Rod Seiling in a 1968 playoff game. According to accounts, Mikita left the game for a few minutes and came back to lead his team to victory. He subsequently helped to design and wore what became known as his trademark bulbous Stan Mikita model helmet, one of the first NHL veterans to opt for protective headgear. Al Arbour, meanwhile, could not have been more different than Mikita. He wasnt an offensive star; he wasnt a star at all. He was a defensive defenceman who had to battle just to hang on in the NHL. Funny enough, and I didnt know this until now, Mikita and Arbour were teammates on the Cup-winning 1961 Hawks. For the better part of the 60s, between 1962 and 1967, Arbour was more an American Leaguer with the Rochester Americans than he was a Maple Leaf. That, I always knew. A kid growing up in Toronto in the 1960s knew em all, the Leafs and the wannabe Leafs in Rochester. The Amerks even played some games at Maple Leaf Gardens and Id go to watch them there. Then there was Arbours hockey card. My friends and I were fascinated by it. We loved that Arbours name was, in fact, Alger, but more importantly, that he wore glasses, both in the photo in his hockey card and on the ice. That alone distinguished him from every other hockey player. As such, we reserved a special sort of attention for this Alger Arbour fellow. Then expansion came in 1967 and he was off to St. Louis to become captain of the Blues and, ultimately, to make a far greater impact as a coach than a player. *** That kid in Toronto never would have imagined growing up one day to work in the hockey business, getting up close and personal with the faces and people he had only ever saw on TV or on a hockey card. That experience can be a double-edged sword because thats when you find out some of your childhood heroes or hockey stars may not be exactly who you thought they were. Suffice to say that never happened with Stan Mikita or Al Arbour. Post rettirement - chronic back woes forced Mikita to call it quits during the 1979-80 season -- any occasion I came across Mikita, he was so cool and charismatic. Zac Dalpe Jersey. He had a regal air about him. He was the nattiest of dressers, a real sharp-dressed man. When Bobby Hull and Mikita were at functions together, Bobby could be ribald and crass, Stan would be smooth as silk and all class, though you knew he still, in a very good way, had a little bit of the devil in him, too. When the new regime of the Blackhawks finally welcomed their superstars – chiefly Hull and Mikita – back into the fold after decades of neglecting them, Stan the Man took his ambassadorship to heart and assumed, quite rightfully, exalted status within the organization. Hes a veritable icon in Chicago and has the statue outside the United Centre to prove it. By the time I started covering the NHL in 1982, the still bespectacled Arbour was in the midst of coaching the four-Cup dynasty of the New York Islanders and well on his way to becoming a legendary bench boss, who even today is second only to Scotty Bowman in career wins. He was always patient and caring and friendly with inquisitors and for a young media guy breaking into the business that was appreciated more than he would ever know. Arbour and his boss, Islander general manager Bill Torrey, were great at their jobs. At their very core, though, you could tell they were just good people. Als players loved him. Over the years, when I would work in TV with former Islanders, first Glenn Healy and now Ray Ferraro, they would always speak so lovingly of him. They had great insights into him as a coach and wonderful, funny stories of him as a man, which made him all the more endearing. Their respect, admiration and affection for him came off them in waves. *** Diseases that attack the brain are insidious things. I know this only too well. My maternal grandfathers quality of life - and ultimately his actual life - were taken by a degenerative neurological disorder that eventually robbed him of his ability to walk, talk and engage in any semblance of coordination. My Dad died of brain cancer, a tumour. It was astonishing how quickly after he was diagnosed that he was robbed of his faculties. Intellectually, mentally, he was long gone before the cancer claimed his physical life. It isnt pretty watching someone go down that road, whether its cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, dementia, Lewy Body or otherwise, and who knows what other neurological time bombs that may be out there. Im sure many of you know that only too well from your personal experience, just as the loved ones and friends of Stan Mikita and Al Arbour are dealing with it now. The same goes for the Gordie Howe and his family, who have been dealing with Mr. Hockeys dementia for years, quite aside from his recent health scares involving stroke(s). As much as I can relate to that, Im also a journalist, curious by nature, and as sad and empathetic as I was with Fridays news, I must admit I also wondered if there might be any connection between the brain diseases afflicting Mikita and Arbour (Howe, too) and having played professional hockey, possibly suffering brain trauma along the way. I am not a doctor, too dumb to have even considered the notion. I also know millions are afflicted with dementia or Alzheimers or Parkinsons and most of them never played so much as a game of hockey or football or anything that caused repetitive brain trauma. These things often just seem to happen, especially with those in their seventies and eighties. Maybe thats simply the case here. We dont know; were not likely to ever know. Still, that doesnt stop me from wondering. We cant ignore the reality of what has gone on in sports and medicine in the last 10 years, especially in the National Football League: all the research that has been done by forensic pathologist Bennett Olamu, Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist, and Dr. Robert Cantu, a neurosurgeon, as well as so many others who have linked, in varying degrees, repetitive head trauma in football, boxing, wrestling, hockey and other contact sports, to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative brain disease that, for now anyway, can only be definitively diagnosed after the patient has died. If you havent read the book, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, you really should. It chronicles not only the NFLs reticence to deal with the head trauma/CTE issue but the in-fighting amongst medical practitioners to be at the forefront of the movement. Its a fascinating read, a subject that isnt going away. Mostly, though, the book specifies the tragic lives and deaths of football players with CTE who were afflicted with a wide range of early onset neurological disorders that quite likely contributed to their deaths. Medical evidence isnt as plentiful, at least not yet anyway, in hockey as it has been in football, but Dr. McKees work with the Boston University brain bank – where the brains of deceased athletes are studied for CTE – has yielded connections between deceased NHLers and CTE. Original Six tough guy/enforcer Reggie Fleming had a long history of behavioral and cognitive issues. After his death in 2009, at the age of 73, his post-mortem brain examination confirmed the presence of CTE. Similar autopsies on ex-Buffalo Sabre star Richard Martin, who died of a heart attack at age 59 with no apparent or overt neurological disorders, and legendary NHL tough guy Bob Probert, who died in 2010 at age 45 of an apparent heart attack, also confirmed the presence of CTE. Most recently, a brain autopsy on NHL tough guy Derek Boogaard, who died at age 28 in 2011 from what was deemed to be an accidental death (mixing alcohol and oxycodone), also revealed CTE. In the wake of that, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was quoted as follows: There isnt a lot of data, and the experts who we talked to, who consult with us, think that its way premature to be drawing any conclusions. Fair enough. Its a serious issue and it deserves to be treated seriously, with empirical data and hard evidence. Time will tell how it all plays out for hockey. But as someone whos been around this game for the better part of my life – recognizing I certainly have none of that hard evidence or empirical data -- I do sometimes get a terrible sense of foreboding, that as the speed of the game has dramatically increased every decade since the 1960s, both the quality and quantity of impact to the players brains have increased, too. Perhaps were only looking at the tip of a very large iceberg in hockey. I know some retired NHL players who played in the 1980s and 1990s who estimate theyve suffered 10 to 15 concussions, experiencing all manner of symptoms and issues. Ive talked to these players; Ive worked alongside some of them in television. I wont lie. I fear for them and hope beyond all hope my fears are unfounded, that hockeys terrible day of reckoning on head trauma exists more in my mind than reality. In the meantime, me wondering about the possible causes of Stan Mikitas and Al Arbours neurological afflictions, as well as where brain trauma in hockey may be headed, doesnt alter my feelings from Friday in any way: that is, the sadness and empathy I have for two marvelous hockey men I so admired when I was a kid. ' ' 'ree new head coaches came from our coaching staff because it means we have the right kind of people." And the nature of the business, Barker said, is always planning for the day when quality people within the organization get the opportunity to shine elsewhere. "Youve got to have a progression plan and to me, thats part of what Scott and I do," Barker said. "Well talk about replacements for these guys that are here now . . . its all about preparation. "You have to prepare for a worst-case scenario." ' ' '
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